STILLWATER — What do you do with about 70 college kids that, by design, are trapped in a hotel on a Saturday and have no plans until after 9 p.m.?
That's the predicament facing the Oklahoma State coaching staff this weekend with the Cowboys' 9:10 p.m. kickoff at Tulsa on Saturday. The late start is because the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
“I don't remember ever starting (a game) that late myself,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We all know that television and money is a dictator…it doesn't matter what I think. We're going to go down and kick off whenever someone else tells us to do it.”
Because of TU's proximity, this week OSU will virtually mimic its Friday routine for home games. After classes, the team will eat dinner together and go through a walk-thru in Stillwater. The only difference will be the one-hour drive to Tulsa that night.
But the real challenge comes Saturday, when the players will wake up with an extra long day to kill before game time. There will be two time slots for breakfast, just in case someone is an early riser or can't sleep.
After that, the Cowboys will have about four or five hours to occupy themselves in the hotel before boarding the team bus to head to H.A. Chapman Stadium.
How do the players plan to spend the time? The most popular answers were predictable — sleep and watch football.
“There will be some games on we'll be able to watch,” OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “That will make it go by a little bit faster. But still, as a player, that's the tough thing about playing a night game. You just kind of sit around and lay in bed all day. I hate that. That's the worst part about it.”
Said offensive lineman Levy Adcock: “I'm going to sleep a little, and then try to get focused for the game. You've got to get your mind off the game for a while and just watch everything else in the world. Then when it starts getting closer and closer, you start tuning in more and more.”
The coaches must find a way to entertain themselves, too. That's not always easy for football masterminds.
“I'll just try to sleep as long as I can, which won't be very long,” Gundy said. “Then, I'll probably run or something and watch TV. It just makes for a long day.”
Said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken: “There's nothing worse than sitting around all day with the anxiety of the game plan and the ‘what ifs?'”
During his OSU playing days, Gundy and his teammates used to go to a movie on Saturday afternoons anytime they played in a night game. But he won't organize that type of activity as a coach this Saturday because he knows his players would rather watch football.
The Cowboys haven't exactly had a chance to settle into a weekly routine so far this season. After a normal Saturday night game against Louisiana-Lafayette, OSU had a short week to prepare for last Thursday night's contest against Arizona and then had more time off than usual this past weekend.
A late-night start is just the newest adjustment OSU will have to make. And though the Cowboys will have more time to think about the upcoming game on Saturday, nothing will change when it finally kicks off.
“One thing I think is important is you have your game plan, you've practiced it, you've have your walk-thrus,” Gundy said. “So don't over think it.”